Encounters Across Cultures
The issues addressed all look ‘beyond Ireland’. In considering the creative frictions and fictions that result from the dissolving of old loyalties, these essays examine contested concepts such as ‘the nation’, and attempt to shed light on global forces that demand cultural re-definitions and transformations. The world order that let loose the Celtic Tiger has brought, together with a diversified Ireland, new forms of dependence. It is one of the main aims of this book to explore how Irish writers have regarded this diversification and contested that dependence.
Anne Karhio ‘Immram’, ‘Haggadah’ and the New Jersey Suburb: Jewish and Irish America in Paul Muldoon’s Poetry 123
Anne Karhio ‘Immram’, ‘Haggadah’ and the New Jersey Suburb: Jewish and Irish America in Paul Muldoon’s Poetry To assert that the poetry of Paul Muldoon engages in cross-cultural dia- logue is almost a non-statement. The multitude of allusion and reference, cultural as well as literary, is the ubiquitous Muldoon trademark, one which has attracted both praise and reproach. For some, Muldoon is the master of complex poetics, of fering alternatives to inward-looking lyricism and determinist cultural and historical narratives. For others, he exemplifies postmodernist ‘surface aesthetics’ at its worst, the kind condemned by Seamus Deane in his famous introduction to Nationalism, Colonialism and Literature, when he speaks of textuality where ‘the postmodernist simulacrum of pluralism supplants the search for a legitimating mode of nominating and origin’.1 This criticism is also behind Fenella Coppelstone’s dubbing of Muldoon’s poetry as ‘macgibberish’.2 In what follows I would like to challenge the idea that a plurality of voices or textual references acts as an antithesis of human agency and societal engagement. I will do this by focusing on the particular example of the encounters between Irish and Jewish traditions in their American context. As I hope to show, Muldoon’s visions of plurality, manifested in his bringing together of dif ferent cul- tural strains on American soil, are far from representing the postmodernist textual escapism that Deane criticizes. In the wider context of literary and cultural studies, issues of cul- tural mobility and memory in the late twentieth and early twenty-first 1 Seamus Deane, ‘Introduction’...
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